WRR: Where did you grow up? Have you always had a taste for adventure? When did you catch the Absinthe bug?
Ted: I was born in New Orleans and lived there as a child, until we relocated to Lafayette (LA), in the heart of Cajun country. It was a small, but surprisingly cosmopolitan city. I really enjoyed living there.
I’ve always had a taste for adventure, especially if dome degree of scientific and engineering innovation were involved in pulling off an entertaining stunt. I became interested in absinthe toward the end of 1993.
It was liquor. It was more of a chemistry issue for Ted. Working as a chemist almost 20 years ago. Incredulous …
I was studying absinthe distilled absinthe on a research basis. Back in 1996 I found 2 bottles and took apart the chemical properties of the Absinthe. These were extremely rare, Pre-Ban bottles.
They exemplified flavor over theatrics.
I think Absinthe should come with an owners manual.
WRR: Do you cook, you live in France and you’re surrounded by marvelous ingredients? If so, who taught you? Mother, Father? Grandparents? Cookbooks? Television?
Ted: Officially, I live in Birmingham, AL since floating out of New Orleans on the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. I just spend quite a lot of time overseas.
I do cook, although my cooking tends to be nutrient dense, healthy dishes that just come out of my imagination. In that sense, I’m mostly self-taught.
My grandmother’s were responsible for the cooking that I remember the most. We ate well, Indian Foods, Ethiopian Food, etc.
I’m very familiar with Cajun cooking from growing up in Cajun Country. I like to cook very healthy dishes. Whole ingredients. I had a great adolescence.
It was very satisfying to grow up here.
There is a specific European, Latin mindset here in New Orleans. With that said, New Orleans by design is very different from regions not far away.
I am very family oriented .. Lots of cultural exposure from my family.
WRR: If you could be anywhere in the world where would that be? What would you eat/drink once you got there?
Ted: If I could snap my fingers and be anywhere, I could see myself relaxing in Cusco while sipping coca tea, or maybe somewhere in the depths of the Indian subcontinent with a plate of methi gosht.
WRR: Is there anything that you’ve imbibed that brings a tear to your eye? What is it? Why?
Ted: A generous friend and I recently cracked open a 1900 Tokaji Aszú Eszencia which we drank from some of Czar Nicholas II’s personal glassware. That was a most memorable experience. Aside from that, a spectacular calvados from 1850, a couple of vintage absinthes, and just about any 100% folle blanche Bas Armagnac from Domaine Boingnères. In each case, when the romance is brushed aside, the product truly speaks volumes of the artistry behind its making.
WRR: Speaking of Eating and drinking, what is your favorite cocktail? Made by whom? Where?
Ted: I tend to identify themes that I feel individual bartenders do to my liking and task them to expound upon it. They don’t necessarily realize what I’m doing. But if there is one pattern I repeat with consistency when it comes to bartenders and cocktails, it’s when I walk through the doors of Zig Zag Café (Seattle) and upon seeing Kacy Fitch, I always demand (loudly) if anyone in “this jukejoint” knows how to make a Ramos Gin Fizz.
Fortunately, someone does.
Thank you Ted for braving the humidity and heat to talk to me.
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Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a Biodynamic farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (Center for Advanced Visual Studies @ MIT)
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